Be Culturally Appropriate

Sooooooooooooooooo… we are gonna have a great Christmas free of foolishness. But before we do, there was this.

And I have opinions.

What in all the Dorothy, Diahann, Diana, and Eartha is this fuckery. She is darker than me, and both my parents are Afros and Black Panther Party Black. This is a public service announcement to White Women everywhere, in the Americas and beyond…

NOPE!

You cannot have my beauty without my ashes.
You cannot have my pleasure without my pain.
You cannot have my hip without my hop.
You cannot have my rhythm without my blues.
You cannot have my triumph without my testimony.

There is so much to say. This is rooted in oppression… it’s rooted in disrespect and dismissal of all that we are.

I (the universal Black woman) have been told that you are the epitome of aesthetic beauty. Thin features, thin body, long straight hair, light skin, light colored eyes. So much so that your beauty idols were used to portray our historical idols. Cleopatra.

We were only considered beautiful if we resembled you in some way… despite your attempts to look like us.

Tans. Melanin.
Lip plumpers. Full lips.
Teased hair. Crowns of curls.
Corsets. Natural curves.

Yet, our heads filled with the message that we paled in comparison. So we cut our Jackson Five nostrils in half. Starved our curvy bodies slim. Straightened our locks. Lightened anything we could. Our blond hair a choice perhaps because we like it or maybe to look more like you. And even if it’s in some attempt to look more like you, it’s not in mimicry but in a traumatic search for aesthetic acceptance. That pain is deeper than any you will ever understand. But trust, it’s not in an effort to appropriate your culture. My blond hair is not in absence of understanding that lil Timmy calling you a bitch in Target is heinous or Weinstein using his power over your success to bed you simply because you are female is rapey bullshit. We’d gladly volunteer to beat either of their asses for you. But trust anything we might do to model you is in complete presence of our own trauma.

You want no part of our trauma… to understand it, consider it, or better yet to stand in protest of it. But you want to steal our image as your own. An image we fought to find and recognize beauty and power in. You can’t borrow it. It’s not for sale. Your boxer braids are cornrows. Africa… not Bo Derek. Your mini buns are Bantu knots. Bantu tribe … not Khloe Kardashian. Your hair clips are Bobby pins. Doobie wraps not whatever the fuck you call it. Your white Cleopatra is an African Queen. Egyptian… not Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, or Vivian Leigh.

So stop it. Tell your friends. It’s not honorable… it’s disrespectful. Fenty 340 is not your color.., so don’t come outta makeup looking like your parents might be named Tyrone and Mercedes. Kanye, Travis Scott, or whatever Black football or basketball players you have Black children by can’t make it ok.

Be culturally appropriate!

This ends the PSA… be well!

The Black Sheep

In the love and relationships, disrespect and jealousy related offenses are especially heinous in real life. My ability to cut you off and move on are unprecedented AF! This is my story…

I have never been a big fan of too many people… could be because my family was small and I was an only child and only grandchild on my mother’s side of the family. I was estranged from my father, so I got all the attention and love I needed in a very small circle. As a result, I have always kept my circles small. Plus, I don’t eat bad apples, and it’s easier to see a bad apple in a smaller bushel! But every now and then…

For the most part, I have maintained long term friendships and relationships. My good girlfriends are really my sistafriends. I have a boonapolis (Greek for bestie, main thang, number one boo) and day one’s, and we go back like bangs at Disneyworld in July. So too have been my relationships with men. Two of my longest relationships have spanned over almost half of my life. One, I was married to and the other I was off and on with for a decade, now permanently off. Fuck him. Anyway… you get the point. I commit, to a very small group of people. My loyalty runs deep.

But lately, folks have been trying me. I have had to euthanize some friendships and a relationship… fuck him… (oh I said that already lol) and since I know now that adversity usually comes with a big life lesson, I’m gonna share this lesson with you. Perhaps you will avoid it by learning it in the here and now. It’s double-layered.

“Who’s the black sheep, what’s the black sheep? Know not who I am, or when I’m coming, so you sleep. Wasn’t in my realm, or wasn’t in your sphere. Knew not who I was but listen here…”

1. People ain’t you!

People show you who they are. We each have a story, and while we are so busy sharing ours we forget to listen to the other person’s. I know if you listen to mine, that you will hear that: I can be centered on self; I am not overtly friendly or extroverted in spaces I have never been; I am selectively sensitive; I talk a lot of shit; I don’t tolerate ignorance or disloyalty; and I’m a fighter for me and mine. Those things aren’t inherently negative, but they might not fit in your world. You won’t know if you don’t listen.

My actions and temperament, ability to forgive, attitude, disposition, values, and traditions are all a function of where I come from, not in the geographical sense but emotionally and relationally. (Well maybe geographically too… I’m from Detroit. We different.) Who influenced me, and what was that influence. Did people mistreat me, and how did I recover from that? But that’s just ME! Other folks are not me. They don’t share my story. They come from a distinctly different set of emotional and relational truths. You won’t know who they are if you don’t listen. But be clear, they are not you!

2. No one owes you SHIT!

You don’t have to be bothered with people who malign your character, are disloyal, disrespectful, hateful, haters, or otherwise just bad for your personal business. That choice is yours. But no one is indebted to you in kindness or compassion, in fairness or loyalty, in friendship or loveship. People get to choose how fucked up or on the up and up they want to be. Their judgement day will come, but no matter what you think you can do about it… nothing you can do can change who they choose to be. Nothing!

Lemme say that again…

No one owes you kindness.

No one owes you compassion.

No one owes you fairness.

No one owes you loyalty.

No one owes you shit.

Trust that people are going to be who they are… that’s their own story! You decide how long , how far, and how much… if at all… you are going to swim in the sea of fucked up, selfish, bitter, resentful, negative, or otherwise unGodly people. That is your story. There is only one you…

the violet in a garden of roses;

the God MC in a group of mumble rappers;

a spelling bee champ amongst those stuck on the first reader;

unique superheroes and mermaids in an imagination dominated by the typical;

a Black Sheep …

“And you can’t beat that with a bat!”